Niagara Falls scores 3 runs in the seventh to come back and win
By David Yarger
One day after the Grand Island Vikings defeated the Niagara Falls Wolverines, 11-4, the Wolverines redeemed themselves in round two.
Niagara Falls defeated Grand Island 5-4, using a 3-run seventh inning to come back and win on Tuesday.
The game was a pitcher's duel for the first five innings. In the sixth and seventh inning, 8 of the 9 runs were scored.
Dustin Newman, who got the complete game victory on the mound, didn't give up his first run until the fourth inning. Newman finished with eight strikeouts.
Grand Island starter Bryce Jellinick was equally efficient, as he had a two-hit shutout going into the sixth inning.
The first run of the day came off the bat of Sean Pufpaff. Pufpaff's second home run in as many days against Niagara Falls gave the Vikings the lead, 1-0.
The Vikings added three more runs in the sixth. Tyler Muggli was hit by a pitch and then made it to third on an errant pickoff attempt. The next pitch after the error, Art Meaney hit a line-drive home run over the left field fence to give Grand Island a 3-0 lead. After a Pufpaff single and stolen base, Jellinick helped his own cause and drove in Pufpaff to make it 4-0.
The Wolverines began their comeback in the sixth. Newman singled, and then, a batter later, Anthony Coty drove him in with an RBI double. Jon Orfano followed Coty with an RBI single to score pinch runner Chris Clark. This cut the lead in half (4-2).
Newman sailed through the seventh inning and the Wolverines came up with one chance remaining.
Jason Walker walked with one out and then AJ Kinney was hit by a pitch to put men on first and second. Matt Grace hit an RBI single to drive in Walker to make it 4-3. Newman followed Grace with an RBI single to tie the game and then Mike Laurrie was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Up to bat was Coty, who started the comeback in the sixth with his RBI double. Walker hit a ground ball to third base, and the third basemen, instead of throwing to home, threw to first, allowing Grace to score easily.
The Wolverines came back to win, 5-4.
Coty said the comeback "feels great.
"We went into the last inning and saw some pitches. The pitcher got a little rattled and we got pitches to hit and got guys on," he added.
A day after the 11-4 loss, coach Rob Augustino said he was relieved the game went the way it did. He praised the game Newman threw.
"We were tight with them through the fifth inning yesterday," Augustino said. "When the game got away, we had to use up three pitchers. So, Dustin threw a complete game, his third straight, and that was the key to this week being able to ... throw a complete game somehow and win the game, and then it actually helps us later on in the week."
After enduring a tough loss, Augustino called the comeback win a confidence booster.
"Not only was it confidence-boosting, the funny thing about it is tomorrow is an off day," he said. "To not go loss-loss into that bye, and to have a win, something positive to roll through the rest of the week, who knows what could happen?"
Augustino also noted how tight the Niagara Frontier League is this season, as many teams are just one or two losses away from each other in the standings.
For Grand Island, the loss drops the team's league record to 6-3. The Vikings' next game is on the road vs. Lockport at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday.
For Niagara Falls, the win increases the team's record to 7-4. The Wolverines' next game is vs. Lockport at 4:45 p.m. on Thursday.